Defenders Of God's Honor
Not much is told of today's two saints, Simon and Jude. We know a bit about Jude as the patron of seemingly impossible causes. In many parishes, my own included, devotion is shown to him each Monday in a novena prayer said along with the novena of the Miraculous Medal. He is mentioned in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 in the lists of the chosen Apostles.
In St Simon we perhaps can see a little more of how God often chooses the least likely to bestow His gift of holiness upon and within a soul. Simon is often referred to as "the Zealot". He was of that ancient Jewish sect known by that name. They were fierce defenders of Jewish law and sometimes took that zeal and defense to violent extremes. They played a large part in the rebellion against Rome in 70 A.D. which ended in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Now we do not know where on the scale of zeal Simon fell, but we do know that Jesus saw something in him that led to calling him as one of the Apostles. His zeal was turned to love for Christ, His Church and Gospel.
We too are called to have this same zeal. Bl. John Henry Newman defines zeal as " earnest desire for God's honor, leading to strenuous and bold deeds in His behalf; and that in spite of all obstacles." Newman uses the term "holy temper". I just love that! Usually we think of having a temper as a negative, but a temper in line with Newman's definition of zeal makes it holy. Sts Simon and Jude, as well as all the Apostles and saints throughout the ages used God's gift of holiness to develop this zeal.
As Christians we are called to defend our faith. We do not need to defend God; He has no need of that, but like appointed knights, we are called to defend His honor and the deposit of faith handed down to us from the Apostles. Like the Knights of the Round Table in the legends of Camelot who defended the honor of their king, Arthur, we too are to defend the honor of our King and Savior, Jesus Christ.
May true and holy zeal for God and His house consume us.
St Simon, St Jude pray for us!
*Note: References from Bl. John Henry Newman from Magnificat's Meditation of the Day.